Fabulous Flores - Lake Piten Itza

Guatemala is an intense country of contrasts, and living here has been challenging and beautiful at the same time. We recently took a trip to the island of Flores on Lake Peten Itza, about 10 hours north of Guatemala City. It's become our favorite stop on the way to the Mayan ruins of Tikal. I'm excited to share this itinerary with any of you who are considering a trip to Tikal and who might choose Flores as a leeway point.

Excuses to Go:

- It's the access town to Tikal, an hour and a half away and a fraction of the price of staying in the park
- The second largest lake in Guatemala, (Lake Atitlan is the largest)
- 27 Mayan sites dot the lake, so you can get in a little extra sightseeing
- Stretch that dollar: $1 USD = approx $7 in Guatemalan Quetzales

Where to Stay:

Hotel La Unión
Pictured above, view from room #12. Owned and operated by a local Guatemalan family for over 15 years, La Unión is a simple, clean, budget-friendly option. Seeing that my husband is a slightly "particular" sleeper, we'll say, we loved the super high powered ceiling fan and lake breezes from our balcony room.

In the end, La Union was about $35 USD and well worth it! Excellent budget hotel right on the water. For a great view and good sized balcony at a great rate, we recommend room 12. Get $25 off your stay when you sign up for Airbnb through this link.

Hotel LaCandon

This hotel offers Mayan decor with an ancient Mayan twist, beautiful lake views and a full terrace restaurant. Get $25 off your stay on Airbnb through this link

We were greeted by the hotel owner, Oliver (pictured left) a super kind and fun guy who made us feel comfortable and welcome right away. For the best deal, we chose a basic room with no AC. We also ate dinner at LaCandon, and we are glad we did- why search when you have excellent fare and a view available right away? I ordered kebobs and Rob had pasta carbonara, and with drinks we came out less than Q11. ($14 USD)

Where to Eat

There are cafés galore, and a good selection of restaurants. You shouldn't have a problem finding a great meal in the Q30-Q50 range, and some really delicious cuisine around the Q100 mark.

Try Cool Beans for a good breakfast and coffee at a reasonable price. Fun atmosphere. Thankfully they provided the bug spray! These mosquitos bite early and bite often.

San Telmo is a great place for a super healthy lunch. When you see it lit up at night, you'll want to go there for dinner too. Plus there is a thrift shop attached - fun!

Captain Tortuga's cooks up a great pizza, but if you're ready to take a chance on the street food, it's only steps away by the water. Great people watching.

Purchase a bottle of wine at the local store, or enjoy a drink and some live music in the bar at Hotel Isla de Flores.

Getting Around

The town of Flores is very small, and you can walk all the way around it in about 20 minutes. Getting there is fairly easy but not for the faint of heart. We chose to take a shuttle from Antigua where we live to Guatemala city, and then the 10 hour bus ride to Santa Elena. This was part of a package deal, at Q300 (about $40 USD per person.) Approaching from Guatemala City, we arrived in the town of Santa Elena and from there, we hopped in a taxi for Q20 (about $3 USD) to cross the causeway to island of Flores.

So, did I convince you yet? Get packing! Flores is waiting for you!

Content by Laura Gabriele